Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Keith John Adams - Unclever

Is there such a thing as twee punk?

Don't answer that.

(Photo from Keith John Adams's MySpace)

Regardless of my inability to come up with the correct idiotic classification for it, I've been jamming The Keith John Adams' Unclever for a couple of weeks now, on and off. He's sure got the clean, almost minimalistic, all-American garage pop thing nailed. Especially for someone who's very much not American - who hails, in fact, from the UK. Well really, garage pop's not an American idea, necessarily. Whatever. Point is, Adams has it. And that English bent to his no-nonsense, creative, intelligent lyrics can do nothing but ad charm. (What American girl doesn't dig a British accent?)

Unclever came out last month on one of FOA's crushworthiest of crushworthy record labels, Athens' Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. The label connection's wrapped him up in Athens music-folk like crazy, as Jason NeSmith (aka. Casper Fandango of Casper & the Cookies, ex. Of Montreal) both recorded this album and played drums on it. He was also joined by Kay Stanton (also of Casper & the Cookies, of course) on bass, as well as having spent live performance stints with other ATH musical royalty of various kinds. The Cookies have joined him for live shows, too, if I'm not mistaken. I get a kick out of following the way all these guys swap projects and help each other.

As far as the album itself goes, I'm most impressed with its bounciness and its wit. I was stuck in traffic one day last week with the album playing, and started taking notes ('cause I'm a huge dork). Here's what I came up with:

-moving bass lines
-early rock n' roll chord progressions with a twist
-clever lyrics
-multiple mentions of paper cups "heart in a paper cup", etc.
-great momentum

-occasionally Adams whacks you over the head a little too hard (we're subtle. we'd get it...)

The album's lead track, "Bed," features some whoppers of one-liners, for example, "Thank the lord, thank the devil for denial."

"Other Side of the Road" features a cup mention, too, here: "And they're drinking their steaming coffee from disposable cups..." The next verse follows with, "And you're drinking your steaming coffee from a shrunken head..." His picture of shallow people with whom he can no longer empathize is fully developed and clear, backed by fuzzy garage guitars and well placed percussion. It's very well executed, and I like it. Simple as that.

You can buy the record at

[MP3] Keith John Adams - "Other Side Of The Road"

The video for "Other Side of the Road":

1 comment:

Catherine said...

You write very well.